New law increases earnings limitation for some retired SCRS members

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On April 22, 2021, Governor McMaster signed Senate bill 704 into law. This joint resolution increases the earnings limitation for some retired South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) members who work in the state’s public schools. The annual earnings limitation is increased to $50,000 for SCRS members who retired on or before April 1, 2019, and return to covered employment in the K-12 public education system. If a retired member is otherwise subject to the earnings limitation, all other employment remains subject to the regular $10,000 earnings limitation.

The increase provided by the legislation is effective immediately. However, an eligible retiree may only qualify for this increased earnings limitation for a maximum period of 36 consecutive months of employment.

As a reminder, the earnings limitation does not limit the amount a member can earn from covered employment. Instead, it limits the member’s retirement benefit once his earnings from covered employment exceed the limit.

Employers must notify PEBA when they hire an eligible return-to-work retiree. Employers who fail to notify PEBA of the employment of a retired member in a timely manner will be responsible for reimbursing PEBA for any benefits wrongly paid to the retired member.

PEBA will reinstate benefits to eligible members who may have already exceeded or are close to exceeding the $10,000 limitation beginning with their April 2021 retirement benefit. PEBA will also mail a letter to the retiree. If a member thinks he qualifies for the $50,000 limitation, but does not receive notification from PEBA, the member should contact his benefits administrator. Remember that retirees who have been approved for a critical needs exemption are not subject to the earnings limit for that academic year.